Kaufman Architects To Design Round-the-world Racer


February 02, 1992|By Nancy Noyes

Annapolis yacht designers Mike Kaufman, Hal Whitacre and Ken Court are on a mission that could catapult them to international fame.

The three naval architects from Kaufman Design Inc. in Eastport have been selected by ocean racer Michael Carr to design a 60-foot entry forClass I of the 1994-1995 BOC Challenge single-handed, round-the-world race.

Carr, 36, has been called one of the most promising long-distanceoffshore sailors in the United States.

The New Hampshire residenthas logged more than 10,000 miles of single-handed offshore sailing in his 40-foot cutter, Veracity. In addition, he has competed in the Bermuda One-Two -- single-handed from Newport, R.I., to Bermuda and double-handed back again -- in 1989 and 1991, the year he won his class and placed second overall in the grueling event.

Carr is a seasoned yacht captain and skipper of Ocean Star, a 90-foot ocean-going training vessel operated by Ocean Navigator magazine.

He is a formerCoast Guard officer and Navy specialist in salvage diving and has done search-and-rescue operations. His military training, he says, taught him the self-reliance, discipline and perseverance in challenging situations that have prepared him for the rigors of the legendary BOCChallenge.

The new boat will be constructed in aluminum by experienced Norfolk boat builder Howdy Bailey of Marine Metals.

The Kaufman team earned the design award last November, following initial meetings with Carr and Bailey at the U.S. Sailboat Show, and has been hard at work on the project ever since. At least one of the three Annapolis men will be involved full time on the project through the designprocess, expected to be complete some time this summer, and the construction, another five months, until the racing vessel is launched.

When the boat is completed, outfitted and rigged, probably late this year or early in 1993, Carr will have more than a year to learn theboat's personality and operations, while the Kaufman Design team continues to evaluate performance, refine performance prediction detailsand assist in configuring the boat to win.

Some of the design technology the Kaufman team is using for the project is derived from thefirm's recent development of a 65-foot sportfishing powerboat that cruises at 50 knots.

The design for Carr's BOC racer, of the wide and shallow configuration used so successfully in the last BOC Challenge, will draw on Kaufman Design's high-speed powerboat experience as well as IMS-type velocity performance predictions (VPP) used for sailboat design. It is designed to use sail power efficiently on all points of sail.

Using specially developed computer programs, 10 hulls were developed and evaluated to find the right hull form for the final boat.

The 10 hulls, as well as successful boats from past BOC Challenges, were then evaluated both for overall performance and courseperformance through the use of a computer model of the BOC course.

The design team built a computer grid of the round-the-world coursein which each square contained information on local wind and water conditions, and then "sailed" their computer models through each of the squares to see how they fared and provide valuable information.

The Kaufman team claims that based on the early computer analyses, the design for the Carr Campaign will be "a quantum leap beyond the boats raced in the last (BOC) Challenge."

This leap in speed, the designers say, is the result of using technology not usually applied to racing sailboats, and by supplying the helmsman with the sail area necessary to keep the boat sailing to her potential in all wind conditions.

"The complete freedom to configure a winning 60-foot boat with few class restrictions is a unique and demanding design challenge,"Whitacre said. "The boats developed for this race will be some of the most exciting ever built."

Carr's interest in environmentally safe products -- as well as that of his primary potential sponsors for the event -- has led to several key decisions. The yacht will be built out of recycled aluminum and waste-disposal systems will include a marine version of a self-contained composting toilet.

In addition to the high-speed sportfisherman, Kaufman and his design team have designed performance cruising sailboats such as the Skye 51, CT 47, andKaufman 49, many of which have completed round-the-world passages, and for the zippy ultralight 40-foot Screamer.

The team believes that its experience with design and construction and its choice of materials will give Carr a boat that will be light, fast, strong, and safe enough to give the dauntless sailor a serious chance to win the next BOC.

"Keeping a large project like this on track is an act of juggling and attention to detail," Court explained. "To meet our targets, weight and cost control are paramount with this boat. Armed with agood design and weight-control program we'll pull off a winner."

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